January 23, 2014

The List

Nehemiah 7:4-7

God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families.
—Nehemiah 7:5


I only look at my checkbook to make sure there’s enough money to write a check. When I follow a recipe, I don’t accu-rately measure the ingredients. I just toss everything into a bowl.

I am not wired for accuracy. But God is a God of accuracy. Ne-hemiah made a big deal about names and numbers. As the exiled people of God transformed from an unsettled people to a restored people, names and numbers were important. God cared about every family and each person’s life.

There were lives and stories behind every name and number. No one is invisible in God’s family. The priests mattered because they helped with and conducted worship for the people. The singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants assisted the priests and Levites. In order to fill the city of God with right living and worship, Nehemiah needed to get the rules and numbers right. God cares deeply about every detail of his salvation plan.

Jesus cared about getting the details of salvation right. He healed a blind man and told him to go visit the local priest. He cleared the temple from being a place of commercial business that crowded out prayer. He submitted himself to death on a cross because it was the only way to redeem sinful humankind.

How about you? Next time you cut corners in your walk with God, think about the details, because they matter to him.

Jesus, thank you for fulfilling every detail of salvation to re-deem us from sin and death. Help us live faithfully for you. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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